Corona-hit health sector gets highest priority in budget with Tk29,247cr allocation

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Dhaka, June 11: As the country grapples with coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister  AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday proposed an allocation of Tk29,247 crore for health services and health education sector, up by 23.44 percent from last year’s revised allocation.The minister came up with the proposal while unveiling the national budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year in Parliament.

“I propose to allocate Tk. 29,247 crore for the Health Services Division and the Health Education and Family Welfare Division in FY  2020-21, which was Tk. 25,732 crore in FY2019-20,” the minister said.

He said the increased allocation is proposed for the health and family welfare sector giving a priority to activities undertaken to combat the Covid-19.

Kamal said 13 ministries and divisions are currently  implementing programmes  related to health and family welfare. “The allocation for this purpose in FY 2020-21 is Tk. 41,027 crore, which is 1.3 percent of GDP and 7.2 percent of total budget allocations.

He also proposed Tk 10,000 crore to fulfil the emergency requirements to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. “We have taken all-out measures to improve the health sector. To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we are implementing different programmes worth Tk 5,500 crore under the Health Services Division.”

The minister said they have made a slight deviation this year from the traditional budget for the sake of effectively combating the deadly coronavirus and resolutely overcoming its economic impacts.

“A structural change has been brought in this year’s budget in terms of setting the priorities of the government. The health sector is given the highest priority, and provisions have been made for this sector in the form of additional allocation, incentives, compensations, etc. Agriculture is our second highest priority sector,” he said.

Kamal said they increased the allocation for the health sector, including that of the Sector Programme and projects, by a considerable amount in the last 10 years with a view to ensuring quality health services for the citizens of the country.

Besides, he said, they are also implementing various projects/activities to fulfill the government’s election pledges and improve infrastructure of the health sector. Most important of them include establishment of new medical colleges in Kushtia, Sirajganj , Manikganj , Jamalpur, Patuakhali, Tangail and Sunamganj , development of the e-health infrastructure to implement ‘Digital Bangladesh’, expansion of Shasthyo Surokhsha Karmasuchi  (SSK) in eight upazilas, and establishment of secondary and tertiary health complexes at district, divisional and national levels.

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